By Mark Turner
Palax KS35 Firewood Processor
review of the palax ks35 firewood processorVisit Website
Bought the Palax ks35 years ago to process firewood for myself and as a small winter sideline in the quieter season of winter. I have the tractor pto driven model and base this only on the pto driven model. Not the electric motor option which I have never tried.
It is obviously a lot easier to use than traditional axe and saw methods and produces much larger quantities than I ever could by hand.
The largest timber diameter it is designed to take is 13inches 33cm you can fit a little larger out of round shapes or snags through, but will have to handle the wood by hand more and maybe lift the guards up to position it better. However if you open the guarding it has excellent safety cut out mechanisms to prevent accidental operation.
To set this machine up is simple only taking a few minutes to set up in to working position, you fold the intake and output conveyors in to working position, Being three point linkage mounted it is excellent for mobile work in a yard or at wood source.
You place the timber on a belt and using the main lever to feed it in to the cutting zone then with the same main lever pull down the cutter unit a 15 inch bar standard chainsaw bar unit on an automatically engaged hydraulic driven sprocket. A positive cutting device that only tends to stop when the log twists or slips lengthways. It stops immediately the saw returns to the park position The sawdust is directed away from the operator to the space in-between the tractor and machine. Every couple of hours this needs shifting or it could be a potential fire hazard or dust and shavings get in the pto. On releasing the saw handle you return the lever back to the neutral position and a little further back to engage the splitter which is immediately below the saw cutting point. The ram is rated at 8 tonnes and will shove just about everything that goes through except knotty elm. After being pushed through the splitter, the processed logs ascend the highly simple and quick to adjust conveyor in bags, trailer or a heap.
Once you get the hang of the controls it is simple rhythmic to use, at first however you may get confused and try to split when you want to cut etc. In an 8 hr day we produce 18+ cubic metres of hardwood from variable sized timber. If it was all nearer maximum girth the amount producedon the wood heap will be significantly bigger.
Likewise nice straight softwood is quicker to cut easier to handle again higher potential output.. These results are based on using 1 operator and a yard assistant to help lift now and again, the second person is not in use full time and does other things. Moving bags reducing awkward pieces, etc
The logs are cut to a preset size set by a stop mounted near the sawhead, this works well until you get down to around 6inch 15cm or under were due to the height of drop into the splitting valley many logs fall on their sides causing the logs to split inconsistently or jam the splitting head. This is an area that could be improved maybe by reducing the drop height or a springy retainer of some sort to guide the log down.We have the 4 and 6 way heads and use both they are quick and easy to change with variable height adjustment as well according to log size.
Maintainence is straightforward a large capacity chain oiler tank may only need refilling once a day. Saw chain easy to remove/replace and sharpen.Also less downtime than a disc blade if you hit foreign objects. just the 3 grease nipples to service daily. intake rubber conveyor adjusts with spanner or socket. It has an auxiliary hydraulic take off to drive an automated log deck which would be a huge boon although very pricey when compared to the better value of the processor. For a medium sized firewood business this is an excellent machine requiring little manpower for very reasonable output. I have used a 21 horsepower tractor on it but it did stall when driving the splitting ram and tried to spilt a knotty piece, and the tractor couldn’t lift the Palax. I reckon a 40hp would be good which means an old vintage tractor could be used freeing up a prime mover to move trailers or do loader work. Ideal size is 6 inches or more in diameter or you will not be producing the volumes this machine is designed to do. Ideally it needs to make 4 or logs in every split stroke to be best utilised
This is a compact easy to store and maintain machine with ongoing lost costs of ownership, well built and designed. With care will last many years. Mine has only needed a new spring for saw handle return and hydraulic pipe. It burst due to an badly made crimp.